More about GRASS on Linux

Rick Thompson rick at
Thu Dec 2 09:27:39 EST 1993

Here is some more info on GRASS/Linux with approval given from various
earlier respondents. Rick

GRASS4.1 on a 486 Intel platform running LINUX 

For those interested:

Linux is available at many anon ftp sites.  But its american home is
at: in directory /pub/linux.  I strongly recommend
using one of the packaged install systems, ie SLS to simplify the
installation of Linux and X-Windows.  That is available there too!
Please note the existance of comp.os.linux -- a very active newsgroup.
Christopher Keane
keane at

Dynamically linked GRASS binaries for Linux, thanks to Andy Burnett at
USACERL, can be downloaded from ( 
in /pub/grass. The rest of the GRASS stuff is obtainable from the usual
sites. The only problem I encountered with Andy's Linux port was with 
the shared library versions. Make sure you have the newest versions of
libc*.so and libm*.so and everything seems to work fine.

I'll be happy to answer specific questions concerning GRASS on Linux by 
direct email, if that is preferred.
Incidentally, Andy Burnett has recently (6 weeks?) provided a new,
improved set of binaries on the topquark site -- nary a snitch, yet, on my
In a series of questions to Mark P. Line

> How well does grass run on Linux,

I'm still in the middle of an exhaustive test, benchmark will follow that.
On my Linux system it runs fine -- I'm quite happy, and I'm *extremeely*
pleased that I didn't follow some other people's advice and get a
SPARCclassic or get SCO for my i486 machine. 

> and were there many difficulties
> in getting setup ? 

Almost none. Andy Burnett has supplied binaries on one of the CERL ftp
sites. I downloaded those, uncompressed and untarred them, installed them,
and crashed on the first binary executable ($GISBASE/etc/lock, I
think) because I had an older version of the libc & libm shared libraries.
I downloaded *those* from tsx-11 or sunsite or wherever, installed them,
and have had nary a glitch to speak of. One problem I encountered was not
Linux-specific (unbeknownst to me); another problem had to do with
somebody's confusing top page in The only *serious* problem was
that Andy's original source tree was apparently missing some bits and
pieces -- nothing important, just things like r.cats and d.frame (!!!).

I told Andy that, since he was good enough to compile on
Linux and publish the binaries, I'd be more than happy to help with
support if we start getting more users on Linux -- which I hope.

> however, having grass already running on a pc, what would you generically 
> recommend for hardware ?

My configuration is as follows:

i486 33 MHz (generic VL motherboard)
256K Cache
Adaptec 1542C SCSI Controller
3.25" 1.44MB FD
525 MB Fujitsu HD (SCSI)
Toshiba CD-ROM (SCSI)
generic SVGA, Tseng ET4000 chip set, 1MB RAM
Idek 17" color monitor, .28 NI
Wangtek 150MB Tape Backup Unit (SCSI)

As I mentioned before, I haven't done the benchmarks yet. Subjectively,
though, on this machine, GRASS 4.1 goes like a bat -- compared with many 
systems I saw at the last Users' Conference.

The quality of the graphics is fine. The OpenWindows window manager with
virtual screens is wonderful for managing forty-eleven XDRIVER displays
and several controlling xterms and the manual and Emacs for my book and
the GhostScript previewer and ...

Mark P. Line                       Phone: +1-206-733-6040
Open Pathways                        Fax: +1-206-733-6040
P.O. Box F                         Email: markline at
Bellingham, WA 98227-0296


Suggest 16 Mb ram for starters, significantly better performance with 32Mb,
300Mb hard-disk (Unix usually runs about 200Mb) but a more reasonable size
is 600Mb. 33MHz 486 is starting cpu but, if you can, look at DX2's 50Mhz or
66MHz. NO SX's. Also be sure the motherboard has a good reputation, Unix is
not tolerant of some of the cheaper clones. Obviously, 1024x780x8 video
required and the bigger the screen, the better, but I get by on a 15 incher.

If you have a PC, make a realistic appraisal of what it is and if you are
going to buy one, figure on starting with at least $5,000.

Gerald (Jerry) I. Evenden  Internet: gie at
voice: (508) 563-6766      Postal: P.O. Box 1027
fax:   (508) 457-2310              N. Falmouth, MA 02556-1027


Alastair Small strongly has recommended that you check out Linux with a 
GRASS/Khoros combination. 
Khoros is a sophisticated Image Proessing program has been ported to Linux.
comp.soft-sys.khoros (newsgroup dedicated to Khoros) (ftp site for source code and more info on Khoros)
Alastair's e-mail address is: asmall2 at

Rick Thompson-   Research Assistant           E-mail: rick at
Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies      Telephone: (501) 575-5736
Ozark Hall Rm. 12                             Fax: 575-3846 
University of Arkansas              
Fayetteville, AR 72701

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